Many daily commuters have a little bit of “That’s MY seat!” O.Seat.D. in them, but perhaps no one has it worse than a man I’ve written about before, who simply has to have the folding 1 3/4-seaters that are completely set apart from the rest of the car, across from the conductor’s booth.
It’s got its own window, it’s own heat, it’s own coat hook, for crissakes, and no other commuter is within 10 feet.
Alas, this seat is often locked in the upright position, presumably by conductors who want the space free so they can stick their heads out of the window when approaching stations.
This man of course occupies the spot on the platform that gives him the best shot at scoring his beloved 1 3/4-seater. When it’s occupied, he’s forced to venture on, his face ashen and his expression grim. When it’s locked, I’ve seen him lurk on the spot until a conductor takes pity on him and unlocks the seat.
At times, I’ve snagged this seat from the man, sneakily taking the platform spot across from the next door down, then bolting up the aisle from the rear, as he makes his way from the front.
Anyway, the othe day, I saw him approach this seat and find it locked. I then saw him whip out a set of keys, bend down, and unlock the seat for himself.
He has a key to the folding seat on Metro-North! A civilian!
How did he do that? Did he present MTA with some medical case that requires that he have access to the folding 1 3/4-seater? (If so, and it’s legit, well, sorry for stealing your seat and making fun of you.) What the hell did he do, and why didn’t I do it first?
Well, Mr. O.Seat.D.’s magical key did not help him this morning, as a bearish man who I met at a bowling birthday party with Little G recently boarded at Hawthorne and was able to wiggle into the seat before our must-have-it friend.
The look on the key-holder’s face isn’t so much dismayed after losing out on his prime seat, but outright panic. The big fellow was safely ensconced in the folding seat when O.Seat.D. guy arrived at the between-cars door just before it
The bearish man gamely held the door for our defeated pal as he entered the car, the way you extend a hand to a man you’ve just punched to the ground.
The 8:16 rolled on, and the O.Seat.D. man ventured on in search of another, and a lesser, seat.